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Way to 



By J. T. MEEK, Editor Illinois Journal of Commerce 

NASMUCH as most of their time was spent in the office and desirous of making these offices 
as liveable as possible, the National Aluminate Corporation, Clearing, Illinois, has created 
an office building in the big industrial section just outside of Chicago which, to our way of 
thinking, should serve as a model for those who want to make the place they work in as attrac- 
tive as the homes in which they live. 

The writer has interviewed scores of industria 

eaders during his span of years as editor 
of this publication and as a free lance writer for business publications. Wh 

interviewed have been pleasant and inviting, the layout of this truly Illinois concern is, to us at 
east, the most sensible and work productive of a 

Of course, you have to see this beautiful, well-landscaped two-story building to appre- 
ciate it. Perhaps the illustrations will help. You step off the busy thoroughfare which is 65th 
Street in Chicago, travel a block south and west and enter a delightfully air cooled, windowless, 
noise eliminated building with the modern motif and certainly artistically designed from the 
standpoint of down-right good taste. 

The building is two stories in height, 135 by 100 feet. It is constructed of white terra 
cotta walls with decorative bands and entrance. It consists of general and private offices, genera 

unch room, recreation room, library and other features. 

The outstanding features to the less technical-minded person are about four in number. 
These details we'd like to relate without going into the scientific advantages of air conditioning, 
absence of windows, development of proper acoustics, etc. 

and special laboratories for research, a 

* Reprinted from September issue of Illinois Journal of Co 


Office ol the President 

One cannot help but like the way in which the National Aluminate executives arrived at 
their decision to build a home for their workshop. Prior to April they had experienced the incon- 
venience of having private offices, laboratories and general offices strung along the immense 
space which houses approximately 175 of the well over 200 employees who combine to make 
widely used water treating chemicals for railroads and industrial power plants. 

It was a shuffling, work wasting system with the whirring of airplanes, the rattling of trucks 
and the other noises of a mammoth industrial district not exactly productive of mental and physica 

Thus, at luncheon table conferences, these executives put their heads together and decided 
to call in Ambrose C. Cramer, Incorporated, architects, who listened to the story of the officers. 
Robert E. Hattis was called as consulting engineer, and this modern structure is the result 

These four points which were outstanding in addition to the tastefulness of the entire 
structure are as follows: 

1. Windowless construction. Having always felt that an office without windows would 
be the nice way of being buried alive, the writer was amazed at the lack of interest he, ind« 




vidually, showed in this loss. After a few moments the psycholosical effect was sone. Substituted 
was the refreshing quiet, the concentration provoking restfulness of it all. No hot sun rays to 
dodge. No window blinds to follow the course of the changing sun. No fans blowing papers 
helter and skelter. No discomfort. No noise to detract attention. No parades, no airplanes, no 
dust just a decent, quiet, clean spot in which to live and do business. 

And, after all, these windowless offices with their scientifically constructed artificial light- 
ing drz good for your eyes. The light is soft and constant. It isn't cloudy. It isn't glaring. It isn't 
changeable and it seems to definitely improve your entire mental make-up. 

2. The air conditioning. The private offices each have thermostats and the temperature can 
be regulated to suit one s own needs. If you like the thermometer around seventy degrees you 
can have it. If you want it warmer or colder you have your own individual cooling system, as 
illustrated herewith, and that system has the number of your office on it. You can do as you please! 

3. The absence of noise. The entire two-story structure is insulated with Celotex material 
which deadens sound to the point where straining your vocal cords would actually be con- 
sidered a mild form of insanity. Even in the big general office the clicking of the typewriters, 
the whirr of the calculators and the ordinary conversational hum is just that — a mild hum. In 
fact, the National Aluminate building would be a godsend to an offce manager. No distracting 

noises inside or outside. Just the comforts of home — and the chance to d 

o a 

1 1 


ay s wor 


been the keynote of the Aluminate program. There is a good sized reference library 

4. The special features. If this is to be our home let s make it a home" seems to have really 

—a restful, 
wen appointed quiet sort of a place where one can concentrate. For recreation there is a lovely, 
cool, roomy recreation room. Many employes bring their own lunches. To accommodate these 
there is a lunchroom with every modern appointment — hot plate equipment to make coffee or 
actually prepare food. Dishes. Yes, and a big electric refrigerator in which to store perishable 


ghting features. There 

ere dre several beautifully appointed lavoratories with specia 
dre showers available. 

There is a modern, convenient conference room on each floor. In one there is a technical 
exhibit and museum of items illustrating the tremendous wastes caused by untreated or improperly 
treated boiler water. There, also, is a blackboard and a moving picture screen. The projector 
is available by simply opening a cabinet. 

These things, and others, dre used by the seventy fortunate employes and executives who 
use the modern building. 

As to the layout itself. Picture suites of offices very similar in arrangement and detai 
riorly to the rooms in a high class hotel or club. Names on each door, all rooms opening off of 
a long hallway floored with quiet rubber tile and with soft lighting above. All research lab- 
oratories, conference rooms, lavatories, libraries — everything we have described so far, a 
accessible from the corridors. No crowding — privacy, quiet and the chance to do a day's work. 

We wish we were technically minded. If so, we'd like to describe for you that fascinating 

, exte- 

mechanical room which is the key to the air conditioning, the refreshing changes of air, the 
control of those individual thermostats, the elimination of dust and mustiness. White and gleam- 
ing, this modern giant of modern living works away silently, carrying clean, cold air in and stifling, 
smoke laden air out. Here it watches and caters to the individual temperature requirements of 
those 70 employes. Here is the future of American office building — construction all wrapped 
up in a neat package for the really far seeing business man to examine. 



Above — Display and Conference Room 
Below— Partial view of General OHice 

Some apparatus in the Rcitarch f*%tin<? Laborato 

This story hdsn I anything to do *\ h N I Aluminate Produc r eatir 

( hemr its new line o\ water softeners of the zee "e type for dome e new and at\ ie 

>ed automobile rad 

t cleane 


e com 


s as r ch punch and go a 


from 1 concern that decided to make office li 3 as comfor )le a J produc r*e of h 

home living It didn t slide oh uch in the depression. L j re 

ell ahead of that. 

dppiness e 
ic -37 


n f 



you can t retrain from listing the r nes or tnose omcers 
sol : themselves on the idea t^ •- <ndo less " negatives -vere 

went id. Mr Arthur Meeker is el ^rmdn of the - \ A K 


I I 

heir h* Js toq* 

of 1 /cholo 
pre :er, P 



H Thorne and C B Flint, vice-presiden and H J ' . .: secre I re .-er /- 

many thanks to A E Warner, ertising and p tsing jer fo 3 hos r the rr st 

omfortable spending of Dt m ng in Augt th it l\ 5 / riter I ; ever c eno 

Oh >es' Ji as >u n the cc ^er and the builc: 3 come tc ie 1 see a }n "f 

ing space for the convenience of tors That friendl - and I g* 

t\ ihes what we I* e beer 3 to tell yot 1 - ong That 3* r •«€ for r e 

A come* of the Organic Research Laboratory 















By ROBERT E HATTIS Consultms Ensineer, g o, II 



or '' e Corp \ ndov e building, now under construction to house 

es -nd re I atones - conditioned by a system that incorporates 

ui ,ue fe 3ec e ol l I g cor ruction and insulation, with high heat gains 


hile oth 

gl ' anc e? 1I he sources, some rooms may require cooling while others 

ng Ind d s t r e r efore supply the 63 air conditioned spaces, 

and each dt a coo - cc ; I he J cc *ne first supplied with cold ell wate d 

itci fron a heat exd er flow to the coils is under thermostatic 

Ihe desc 

n of I 

e he 

$ c 

- air conditioning of this building is an f smple 
l 31 er ^ee ' 
53 ell er^ ay be id to reduce the cost of air conditioning. 


air cond I r ng design, and of h / a natural resource 

Reprinted om February 1937, issue of He ig, Piping and A«r Conditioning 

WINDOWLESS, completely air conditioned building to house the research laboratories 
and offices of the National Aluminate Corp, in the Clearing industrial district near Chicago 
is under construction and is scheduled for occupancy next month. The air conditioning system 
is of novel design, incorporating provisions for heating and cooling the various offices and 
aboratories independently of each other; because of the windowless construction and the 
resulting high heat loads due to the lighting, and also because the absence of windows and 
the insulation of the building reduces heat losses in winter, it will be necessary to cool some 
of the interior rooms when others will require heating. Therefore, each conditioned space is 
supplied by an individual branch duct, and each duct has its own heating coils and cooling 
coils, supplied with hot and cold well water respectively. There is probably more sheet meta 
duct work per cubic foot of building volume in this building than in any other conditioned 
structure serving a comparable purpose. 

Why Windowless Construction Was Adopted 

The building is two stories in height, 13 5 ft. by 100 ft., and is constructed of white 
terra cotta walls with decorative bands and entrance. It consists of general and private offices, 
general and special laboratories for research in the chemical treatment of water for boiler feed 
and other industrial purposes, a cafeteria, recreation room, etc. The officials of the Nationa 
Aluminate Corp. and the architects, Ambrose C. Cramer, Inc., decided upon the windowless 
type of construction for the following reasons: 

1. In an industrial district the outdoor air carries noise, dust and odors from the busy plants 
and railroad locomotives. Generally, the view from windows is not attractive. There is nothing 
to be gained from windows which must be kept closed to keep out noise, dust and odors and 
through which the view is not inspiring. 

2. Experience in their present offices indicated great discomfort from heat in summer, and 
cold drafts in winter. Air conditioning to produce comfortable conditions in summer and proper 
temperature and humidity in winter was decided upon, to facilitate healthier and more efficient 
working conditions. The cooling load in summer is increased greatly by windows. Proper 
humidification in winter is difficult with windows in cold weather because of condensation. 
Windows thus would be a handicap to air conditioning. 

3. Light from windows, as well as ventilation, is a reason for their place in buildings. 
Even with good light outside, there is no uniformity of lighting inside. When the sun shines 
through, the glare is objectionable, and frequently, the outdoor light is not adequate or is 
entirely absent. 

4. To benefit from natural light from windows, buildings are designed shallow in depth 
and often require courts or other shapes (L, T, H, etc.) to expose as much wall surface to the 
outdoors as possible. This involves more of the costly exterior wall surface per sq. ft. of usable 
floor space, and the portions of the property not covered by building are not fully used. Also, 
the heating and cooling loads are increased. Long corridors connecting the wings are required. 
A windowless building can be made as solid square or rectangle with minimum exterior wa 
and the greatest compactness of inside spaces. 

5. The windowless construction could be expected to result in a saving of approximately 
20 per cent in building cost as compared with a more conventional type of building with win- 
dows. With complete insulation and no losses or gains of heat through glass areas, substantial 

Above — Pjrtul view ol the General Laboratory 
Below — One tide c *t E*penment<jl Boiler Room 








• — 

economies in heating and air conditioning operating costs would be made. (Were it not for 
the necessity of admitting outside air for ventilation, the building could be heated in — 10 F 
weather by the heat from the lighting alone.) 

Having decided on a windowless building, the problems of lighting and air conditioning 
had to be solved. It was decided to provide daylight with indirect lighting fixtures having a 
mixture of incandescent yellowish light and mercury vapor bluish light, producing day light 
by adding the two colors of the light sources in the proper proportions, instead of subtracting 
some yellow light through a blue glass and losing about ] $ of the available light. As brightly 
ighted rooms are more cheerful and facilitate speedier work with equal accuracy, high lighting 
intensities (20 foot-candles or more) were decided upon. Utility outlets were provided essen- 
tially for electrically operated office accessories, as desks and other t/pes of local lighting will 
not be needed. A certain amount of ultra-violet light from the mercury vapor lamps produces 
health giving qualities not usually available from incandescent lamps alone. 

Air Conditioning Essential 

Of course, with a windowless building, proper air conditioning is essential. A number of 
variables had to be contended with. This particular building contains the research laboratories 
and the offices, the laboratory portion comprising a large general laboratory and several smaller 
laboratories. The office portion of the building contains a large general office and many smaller 
offices. The individual occupants of the smaller spaces do not all want the same temperature 
conditions maintained, and they may vary their requirements from time to time. Because of the 
great amount of light provided, the heat from the electric lights in most spaces is more than 
enough to take care of the much reduced heat losses through well insulated walls and roofs, 
even in extreme cold weather — involving cooling in winter with the lights on and heating with 
the lights off. The smaller offices 6rz not always occupied, and alternate heating and cooling is 
required. The laboratory spaces have large heat producing devices which, with the heat from 
ights and the occupants, require cooling even in winter. Interior spaces with no heat losses 
always require cooling. So a scheme of air conditioning had to be designed which would do 
two things: 

1. Maintain the variable temperature conditions required by the feelings and habits of 
the occupants. 

2. Provide heating or cooling alternately due to variable conditions in the use of the spaces, 
s well as the outdoor weather. This meant that some rooms would have to be heated while 

others required cooling, etc. 

Of course, ventilation had to be provided at all times during occupancy. And humidifica- 
tion had to be provided in winter. Some laboratory spaces with escaping fumes from certain 
experiments or accidental spilling of volatile chemicals had to be equipped for emergency 
exhaust and isolation of the fumes. 

Two practically identical air conditioning systems were provided, each serving about one- 
half of the building. These two systems are cross connected so that in an emergency due to 
trouble in one system, the entire building could be handled in a measure by the other system 
Each system is equipped to take in part or all or no outside air, which air is tempered with heating 
coils. Some or all of the room air is recirculated, the mixture of fresh and recirculated air being 
filtered through automatic oil filters, humidified in winter and then pulled through a fan and 
blown from a main duct to a branch duct for every conditioned space. 

Above — A section of the Aisle in Thermostatic Control Room 
Below — Ventilating Fans, Air Filter and part of Temperature Control System before completion 

In this branch duct is a coolin9 coil and also a heating coil. The duct then goes to the con- 
ditioned space, diffusing the air at or near the ceiling. Recirculated air is returned from grilles 
at the floor, and is conveyed to basement trunk ducts through chases, which are insulated with 
x /2 in. corkboard, in the outside walls, and through sheet metal ducts in interior partitions. As 
the various conditioned spaces are separated by tight partitions with tight doors for privacy 
and localization of noises, the excess of air supplied over that which is returned is vented to 
furred corridor ceiling spaces and pulled out of those spaces by roof fan ventilators. Rooms 
with fume odors have the vents connected solidly by ducts to their roof fan ventilation. 

Humidification in winter is controlled centrally, as very little moisture is added internally 
by the process work or occupants. Every space in the building is heated by ducts, no direct 
radiators being used. Each air conditioned space has a thermostat which sends cold well water 
through its cooling coil or circulates hot water through its heating coil as required by the con 
ditions in the space. Cooling water and heating water are always on tap, ready for instantaneous 
use through the proper coils. All of these heating and cooling coils are situated in a basement 

machine room for ease of servicing. 

n addition to the air conditioning system, a fume exhaust system exhausts acid and noxious 

fumes, and a toilet exhaust system keeps the toilet rooms fresh. 

Details of the Installation 

Equipment (or Pumping Cool Water to Coils 

Two wells about 300 ft. deep deliver water by means of turbine pumps electric / driver 
The water from the pumps flows through the cooling coils as admitted by throttling valves con- 
trolled by a thermostat in the space supplied with this air. After Rowing through the coil the 

water is discharged to the city sewer. 

A pneumatic pressure tank with pressure switches properly set to start first one well pump 
and then the second well pump permits the use of only the amount of water required for cooling 
The water flows through the coils counterflow, entering the coils at 53 F and, under maximum 
cooling conditions, a 20 deg rise in the cooling water is obtained 

Pumping and Supplying Hot Water to Coils 

Hot water for circulation through the heating coils is obtained by means of a heat exchanger 
with steam in the shell and water in copper coils within the shell. Steam is admitted as required 
to maintain a water temperature of 200 F by means of an aquastat in the water controlling a 

throttling valve in the steam supply line 

Provision is made for expansion of the water and make-up by means of a cushion tank and 
itable hot water heating system type of governor The hot water is circul z6 through the 

coils by a quiet type circulating pump and admitted to each coil by means of a throttling valve 

controlled by a thermostat in the room supplied. 

Controlling Flow of Water to Coils 

There are 63 individual conditioned spaces in the building, each of which has an air supply 
duct with a cooling coil and a heating coil The flow of well water through the cooling coil or 
hot water through the heating coil is controlled by a thermostatic valve in the water supply to 
each coil, both of these thermostatic valves being controlled by a thermostat in the conditioned 
space. When the room is colder than the temperature setting of the thermostat, heat is called for 

d SU 

/y&sr <>Floo/z. 'Plaa/ 

and the heating valve opens. When the room is brought up to the temperature the heating valve 
stays in a throttled position depending upon the amount of heat required. If, due to internal or 
external conditions, the room temperature rises above the thermostat setting, the heating valve 
closes. If the room temperature still is above the setting the cooling valve opens gradually to 
keep the room temperature from rising, and 

vice versa. 

Heat Losses and Heat from Lights Compared 

It is interesting to compare the quantity of heat given off by the modern high intensity light 

sources and the heat transmission losses from the well insulated windowless rooms in 

10 F 








ower noor 



Top Floor 

Heat Loss, 
Btu. Per Hour 

Laboratory, 1st Floor 18,705 

Office, Top Floor 32,210 







From Lights 

Btu. Per Hour 




Corner rooms on the top floor require more heat than the lights furnish. Of course, since 
the spaces are ventilated with outside air, in cold weather the cooling required in the spaces 
is accomplished by keeping the air supplied to the rooms below room temperature. When, in the 

not cool the recirculated air sufficiently to cool the rooms, 
water is required in winter. Of course, internal sources of heat increase 

heating season, the outside air wi 
then cooling by we 

the requirement for cooling in winter. With a windowless building, there sre many interior 
spaces with no outside exposure that require cooling at all times. 

The walls of this building consist of 15 in. of masonry with 2 in. furring strips and metal 
ath and plaster. The roof consists of concrete joist construction with 9}/i in. concrete between 
the joists, 2 in. corkboard, and tar and gravel roofing. 

Seventeen Hp. Produce 90 Tons 

For economy in air conditioning, each installation must be regarded as an individual engi- 
neering problem and the requirements and peculiarities of the specific job must be allowed for 
in the engineering design of the system. Not only must the air conditioning engineer be concerned 
with the actual mechanical equipment for air conditioning, but he must also decide such questions 
as to the extent insulation should be applied, increasing first costs, of course, but resulting in 
lower over-all owning and operating costs. 

Frequently it is possible to take advantage of natural conditions, such as the availability of 
the 53 F well water in the case under consideration. Because of the availability of this water, 
it was possible to handle this cooling load, which totals 90 tons, with two 10 hp. well pumps, 
loaded about 85 per cent. Thus, 17 hp. produce 90 tons of cooling, without the use of con- 
densing water, or about 0.19 hp. per ton. At 2c per kwhr. this means (figuring 1 kw. input for 
1 hp. output) that this 90 ton job at maximum load condition will cost 34c per hr. for cooling 


d heating of this build- 

The author was responsible for the design of the air conditioning an 
ing. The contractors installing the system are the Narowetz Heating and Ventilating Co. for the 
ventilating work and the Northern Plumbing and Heating Co. for the steamfitting work. 



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